Stable and transparent, informative and powerful, the RCS front end software allows the operator to communicate with the CCU, to interrogate it and to send its commands, changing modes and set points. The GUI-based operator interface is completely user-configurable so it can be set up to suit the vehicle and the application. The example shown here includes:
- Operator controls
- manual machinery control
- set control modes
- Navigational displays, including
- dials and digital readouts
- artificial horizon
- Video display
- Collision Avoidance (fixed data or AIS)
- LED indicators to monitor the status of on-board systems
- Setting up of waypoints
- Steer Boat as per command from remote controller
- Steer the boat through prescribed waypoints, according to mission plans
- Mission Plotting
- Range and bearing
- Plan view monitoring of mission in grid form
- Real-time situational monitoring with ENC chart system
- Real-time Video display
- Real-time AIS display
- Collision Avoidance system monitoring
- Throttle control
- Gear shift control (Ahead/ Astern/ Neutral)
- Track plotting
- Day/ night dimming features
- Continuous data logging
- Loud Hailer (Optional)
- Search light (Optional)
Vehicle Control Modes
- Tele-operated – Direct remote control of vessels throttle, gearboxes and rudders.
- Heading Hold – Direct control of vessels throttle, gearboxes and heading. Command control unit steers the boat on commanded heading.
- Semi-autonomous – Vessel follows a pre-programmed waypoint track. Mission planning software allows the track to be programmed ahead of the mission and for real time modification of the track to be undertaken as required. Constant speed can be maintained to compensate for wind and tidal conditions or the throttle and gearbox can be manually controlled from RCW.
- The vessel will return to a preset location as defined in the RCW on loss of communication or dead stop in existing position. All RCW safety functionality will still be present and will override external control if required.
- Auto speed- Pre defined speed in steps can be fed into the system.
Track (Waypoint) Following
In track following mode the user enters a set of waypoints, specifying a desired depth / height for each one. The autopilot will then control the track of the vehicle to make it move to each waypoint at the correct speed. Waypoints may be set up on an electronic chart system or ECDIS, and downloaded; alternatively they may be entered directly by providing coordinates.
The track controller effectively provides a high level mission control, including the following features:
- Choice of track acquisition conditions – for example, starting at the nearest waypoint or at the start of the track,
- Choice of operational modes on completion of the track,
- Linkage between waypoints and events – for example, so that the speed or depth/altitude changes at a specific waypoint.
Attitude (Roll and Pitch) Control
The autopilot system incorporates controllers for attitude (roll and pitch) control. Roll control is built in to the attitude controllers.
The Collision Avoidance / Obstacle Avoidance module is integrated
Hovering on a Point
In order to hover on a point the autopilot controls the position of the vehicle relative to a user-defined waypoint. Two modes are possible:
- Position Control by Maneuver (PCM)
- Dynamic Positioning (DP)
Hovering within an Area
- Within a set distance of a datum (waypoint),
- Within a defined boundary,
- Avoiding one or more defined danger zones.
Vehicle following allows one vehicle to follow another, taking up a station specified by the user. For example:
- A mine detection system programmed to run some distance ahead of a ship to seek out potential threats;
- A surface unit which being used as a communications relay for a submerged vehicle below it.